DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview

DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview

This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.

It's the first of what will now be many Saturday's without some form of football in quite a while, and DraftKings has made that known by giving us a whopping 30 games across three slates. 60 teams, 300 starters; and we're tasked with highlighting just 18 potentially favorable options. There's going to be a ton of differentiation across slates. We could also get more casual players looking for some new action. Don't be afraid to go outside the box and beat some lineup trains.

Weather, not normally a basketball concern, needs to be monitored. Most of DK's games look safe, though FanDuel has already seen Marquette-Providence called off. Perhaps Syracuse-Wake Forest in the evening is at risk.

I didn't fair too well last week, failing to cash on all three slates. But I trust the picks. Most of my shortcomings were results of too many 2-of-10 shooting nights. Guys just couldn't buy a bucket. The opportunities were there.

Main Slate

This slate is a bit out of my comfort zone. With so many options, I like to live in the mid-tier salary range, building a balanced lineup of guys priced about 7k, not forcing top options and snagging a few values to round things out. But as I went through the options, I thoroughly liked the options priced north of $7,000, and didn't struggle to find options in the $5,100 or lower range. There's absolutely a path to a stars and scrubs lineup build being very successful. This slate is heavily skewed toward the frontcourt in the upper tier, so if you're looking to differentiate, pay up at guard and look for some forward values.

Twelve games, six of which have totals at 140 or higher, and five of which haven spreads of one possession.

Top Targets

Trayce Jackson-Davis, F, Indiana ($8,800)

I absolutely think Paolo Banchero ($9,200 DK, $8,500 FD) and Armando Bacot ($9,100 DK, $8,400 FD) are in smash spots, but Jackson-Davis seemingly has just as much stability and comes at a discount. There's no pace boost, but perhaps the expected tight nature of this game creates more minutes than Banchero and/or Bacot finish with. Jackson-Davis has nine games north of 40 DKP and only four south of 30 all season.

Michael Devoe, G, Georgia Tech ($8,200)

This game has a tight spread, the slate's second-highest total, and the Hurricanes are 171st in defensive efficiency, per KenPom. Devoe is an elite scorer, has been priced as high as $9,300 this year and has gone for at least 4x this number 11 times. I expect him to be overlooked among a slew of bigger names.

Mid-Tier

Aminu Mohammed, G, Georgetown ($6,800)

Aminu seems priced down due to current form, where he's posted less than 25 DKP in three of five, and the matchup against Butler's 334th-ranked tempo isn't helping. Yet the game still has a solid 140.5 point total. Mohammed mustered only 20.5 DKP against the Bulldogs last time out, but that was on 2-of-16 shooting. You're not going to find much more upside, or a higher usage rate, at this price, and 3.5x appears to be the floor.

Tyrese Hunter, G, Iowa State ($6,600)

Auburn's K.D. Johnson ($6,400 DK, $5,700 FD) seems to be the chalk in this range, and he presents very stably. But if looking for lower usage,  It's not a targetable game with the low 131-point total, but Missouri isn't a good team, which should lead to some big production for Cyclone players, likely with near zero roster rates. Hunter is a diverse producer, averaging 10.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.1 steals, giving him the chance to go for 4x in a variety of ways.

Values

Kerr Kriisa, G, Arizona ($5,300 DK, $4,900 FD)

Justin Kier ($5,500 DK, $4,900 FD) is usually my default Wildcat in blowouts, as he gets decent minutes in the first 30 and smashes in the final 10. But Kriisa is priced too far down to ignore, having been as high as $6,800 earlier in the year. His floor comes in facilitation, leading 'Zona's second-ranked tempo en route to 5.4 assists a game. He missed all 12 shots he took last time out against UCLA, but I'll happily take that volume to pair with his dimes in route to 4x-plus.

Leaky Black, G/F, North Carolina ($4,700 DK, $5,700 FD)

Black isn't for the faint of heart, as he isn't a scorer, at all, which creates a low floor. But UNC is pretty undermanned at this point, which has led to 34 and 38 minutes for Black in the team's last two. He's a glue guy, and a compiler, but that's perfectly fine at this tag, having posted 54.75 DKP total in those two outings. Pair it with the high 150 point total, and Black offers a bargain into a targetable game where I expect many will seek the top-echelon options. Black is far less appealing at FanDuel, where he's priced north of Caleb Love ($7,000 DK, $5,300 FD)

Afternoon Slate

DK's afternoon contest tips at 4 p.m. EST and runs through the 7 p.m. games. It seems different from the earlier main slate, with more guards finding their way atop the pricing, but a solid handful of those options offer position flexibility.

Of the 11 games, five have totals of about 140 points or higher, and four of those feature tight spreads. So, those games likely will be the focal point of most builds, though one of those games is Alabama-Baylor, and it's anyone's guess where the production comes from on two deep teams. 

Keep an eye on injuries, particularly at Illinois. Kofi Cockburn ($9,000 DK, $8,600 FD) is uncertain with a concussion, and Andre Curbelo ($6,600 DK, $5,600 FD) equally so due to COVID. That could open up some opportunities ... potentially for Northwestern's Pete Nance ($8,400 DK, $7,700 FD) as well.

Top Targets

Oscar Tshiebwe, F, Kentucky ($9,500)  

The simple fact that Tshiebwe isn't the slate's highest-priced option seems to make him appealing. Kansas can run David McCormack ($7,200) and Jalen Wilson ($7,900) at him, and fouls are always a concern. But we're expecting a high scoring, tight contest, and that means Tshiebwe will be heavily involved on the glass and with put backs. 38.0 DKP is no small number for a 4x return, but Tshiebwe has obliged us with that in three consecutive games and in all but six outings this season.

Keon Ellis, G Alabama ($8,000 DK, $7,400 FD)

I'm not sure I buy this 150 point total, but perhaps 'Bama can push tempo at home. I'm also worried that the Tide's season is about to completely spiral out of control; they've lost four of six, including falling to lowly Georgia, and are entering a three-game stretch with Baylor, Auburn and Kentucky. Maybe that means they bring their best here. I'm siding with Ellis as a more stable option over Jaden Shackelford ($8,100 DK, $6,300 FD), who is very reliant on the 3-ball against a defense allowing just a 29.4 percent connection rate behind the arch. Ellis averages 6.4 boards, 2.0 assists and 2.1 steals, giving him multiple paths to 30 DKP.

Mid-Tier

Tyrese Martin, G/F, Connecticut ($6,300) 

The Huskies are surging, winners of four straight while scoring 75-plus points in each against far better defensive teams than Saturday's opponent in DePaul, which ranks 122nd in efficiency. As such, I find Martin a tad underpriced even if he's only reached 4x this number six times. That's because he's failed to go for 3x only one time all year. Priced right at the DK average per slot, I love this as a stable play.

Jermaine Samuels, F, Villanova ($6,200 DK, $5,200 FD)

Samuels treated me to 34.75 DKP last weekend, but his price is now up $800, making him a bit riskier. That's hopefully offset by St. John's lack of defense. I expect the Wildcats' sixth-ranked offensive efficiency to play up against a team that ranks third in adjusted tempo and 79th defensively, and I also don't trust 'Nova's top options in Collin Gillespie ($8,300 DK, $6,700 FD) or Justin Moore ($7,700 DK, $6,900 FD) to play to elite ceilings. If playing at FanDuel, the Wildcats look like a tremendous Big 3 stacking opportunity.

Values

Cameron Matthews, G/F, Mississippi State ($4,400)

It's all about opportunity paired with price. Mississippi State could struggle to score 60 points, as it checks in at 282nd in tempo, while Texas Tech is 271st and fourth in defensive efficiency. But Matthews played 33 minutes last time out with Tolu Smith ($5,600) again injured and produced 23.5 DKP in the process. With minimal other options, Matthews should again seem ample run and at worst stumble into a 4x floor at this low number.

Caleb McConnell, G/F, Rutgers ($4,000) 

Nebraska plays fast (14th in tempo) and doesn't defend (165th in efficiency), so I'm interested in shares of the Rutgers attack. I initially zeroed in on Cliff Omoruyi ($6,700), who is surging on the glass, but his price is also, making it a bit uncomfortable. Enter McConnell, who needs a mere 16 DKP to return 4x. He's posted at least 15.75 DKP in every game since Nov. 27, five times going for at least 27.75 DKP. That's amazing stability and upside that should play true in a plus matchup.

Evening Slate

A larger than normal seven-game slate awaits the later game, which tips at 8 p.m. EST. Two of the three highest total games aren't expected to be close, which doesn't mean we should ignore them, but doesn't make them slam dunk buy ins either, especially with regards to Gonzaga, which is a whopping 32-point favorite! The top Zags will get theirs, but how much upside is there?

There are four games that figure to be largely ignored, which creates great opportunity for GPP lineups to be diverse and deep. But as I went through the options, the middle tier (6-7k) was not overly desirable. As such, I'll present as many pay down options as possible to help you think about affording the horses atop the pricing.

Top Targets

Buddy Boeheim, G, Syracuse ($7,900)

Make no mistake, any use of one or two of Wake's dynamic duo of Alondes Williams ($9,800) and Jake LaRavia ($8,900), or Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren ($9,300) and Drew Timme ($9,100), is the right call(s) on this slate. It's likely impossible to win without one or two. But they're also so cost prohibitive, I'll simply offer a dissenting opinion. I expect this Syracuse-Wake game to shoot out, and for the Orange to stay close, it will be because Boeheim finally finds the bottom of the bucket. He's in a bad shooting funk, hitting 11-of-38 from the floor and 5-of-25 from 3-point range in his last two. But look at that volume. He went for 35.75 DKP on just 5-of-20 shooting in an earlier meeting, and I'm banking on improvement.

Kyler Edwards, G, Houston ($7,800)

This is going to be chalk city, but Edwards almost looks like a must use. He's hoisted a whopping 48 shots in the Cougars last three games, resulting in a 38.5 DKP floor. He's pulled down at least seven boards in four of five, and handed out four or more assists a the same ratio, giving him elite upside that this price rarely sees. Houston isn't always on slates, because otherwise we're looking at a $9,000 player.

Mid-Tier

Tyger Campbell, G, UCLA ($5,900)

Campbell has been priced as high as $7,100 in the last five games, and his team will be without its star in Johnny Juzang ($7,700). I personally like Jules Bernard ($7,100) in this matchup, but when paired with price, I am hopeful Campbell regains a semblance of form. He's scored single-digit points in four straight after going for 10-plus in eight games prior, and gets no pace boost. But the price dip has created a safer floor, and injuries afford opportunity to upside.

Josiah-Jordan James, G, Tennessee ($5,900)

This game is going to largely be faded given the minuscule 125.5 total. But there's a tight point spread, so both team's starters should see as much run as possible. That's good news when targeting the Vols, who have a far more clear rotation than Texas does. When healthy, James has been a diverse contributor, giving us a 20.75 DKP floor and DKP ceiling in four games despite scoring in double-digits just half the time. 

Values

Jacob Young, G/F, Oregon ($5,400)

The last time Oregon played its in-state rival, it pounded the Beavers on the glass, with both Eric Williams ($4,100) and N'Faly Dante ($4,500) posting double-doubles. That's attractive even if neither are in current form. As such, I'll pivot to Young and his volume. He's hoisted at least 10 shots in six consecutive games, failing to post 23.25 DKP just once in that stretch. Oregon is near the top of implied team totals, yet have only one player priced north of $6,000, creating ample buying opportunities.

Chika Nduka, F, Portland ($4,000)

The Pilots are completely outclassed by Gonzaga, and Nduka likely will struggle for as long as the Bulldogs keep their horses on the court. But he's averaged 34.0 minutes in five games since entering the starting lineup, posting 12.4 points and 6.0 rebounds. There's little to be lost by letting the freshman play, even well after the contest is decided. 4x seems like a given, and allows you to pay up for the studs mentioned above. But there's sneaky upside too. I admittedly don't hate Portland's leader Tyler Robertson ($5,500), who undoubtedly will struggle but is priced so far down his production norms, he doesn't need much to provide ample return either.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Chris Bennett plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: k30kittles, DraftKings: k30kittles.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
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